3rd January Weekend 2021

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3rd January Weekend 2021

Postby sd » Tue Jan 12, 2021 7:57 am

Friday, 1/15/2021 / Post-Mortem

Was expecting much better weather. Perhaps too much subsidence? It was warm at 6K with the winds aloft forecast projecting mid-60s, but with the surface temperature in the mid-80s to low-90s I thought the lapse rate would still be ok. The wind was light, the thermals organized, and the texture not too bumpy, but the thermals were weak and only good for limited climbs of 2 or 300 feet at best. The lower level wind stayed light all day and the ocean remained glassy. Elings T-Hill conditions were weak onshore.

All told there were likely 8 to 10 pilots that flew from 4 launches including the NS Brotherhood, the Bypass, NS EJ and the Skyport. Everyone landed at Parma

Tom Truax Narrative
NS Brotherhood to Parma
Launch at 11:02 PST
Land at 12:22 PST
Ayvri Web Animation
Google Earth KMZ Attachment
(49.08 KiB) Downloaded 30 times

Andrew and Lena collected me from my house in Carpinteria at 9:35. Loaded a couple more at Parma and stopped at the Skyport to chat with Willy. It was blowing down from light to almost 10ish. Reports up top were OTB from the north into the low double digits, so we went up to the Brotherhood which was only in the mid single digits. Too light to stay up in ridge lift, but also not strong enough to produce much lee side turbulence. I opted to go since we were there, and it seemed doable. The launch has been trimmed since we used it last (12/29) but could use a leaf rake sweep. Was worried that it would continue to get weaker, so I skipped the rake and bumped off.

Rounded the corner and had to thread the gap between the Skyport and the Thermal Factory. Passed on a few opportunities to stop and work something, but the bumps were small and I didn’t have ground clearance to spare so I continued along the east side of the canyon because the drift was from the NNW. Approaching the SW spine of the Factory I was out of the north flow but dropped into another airmass that seemed to drift from the east, so I opted to cross the canyon toward the Holly Hills because it is easier to bench up from Tunnel Tit than the Antenna Farm. The mid canyon drift was still draining on my way across but calm on the other side.

No luck over the power lines at the Holly Hills, and nothing a little downhill. The east drift was gone. I considered looking for convergence over the Monastery Fan but opted to reach back across to the Rock Spine because that works as good as anywhere down low and I was still hopeful that it would eventually turn on. In hindsight, perhaps I should have pressed around to the SE corner of The Factory rather than crossing to the Holly Hills?

Stuck at the Rock Spine for over a half hour before I was able to eventually bench up above the antennas. Other pilots were working the Round House Spine with some success so gave it a try and got a tad higher (10 feet higher) to mark my max altitude of the day, 2375 Ft MSL, about 650 above my low point over The Rock (1713).

Finally gave up hope of the day turning on and opted to fly out to Parma with the intent of going back up to try again from a high launch. Met David at Parma, a P3 pilot from San Diego. He was new to SB. Eric Stratton gave him a site briefing and he was game to go up and scope it out but needed fuel, so we dropped down to Milpas then up to West La Cumbre. It was almost launchable but too much OTB from the NW. We looked at the North Side Alternator, which was likely soarable, building, and tempting, but the launch is currently overgrown and narrow. The Skyport was launchable on our way up so we opted for easy and went back down.

Was fun to coach David on his first flight in the SB mountains. Cycles were weak but good enough. He got off about 2:30 and found boaty air but opted to beeline to Parma and was happy with his maiden SB flight. I crewed and David dropped me at my house on his way back to San Diego.
Friday Morning Update

The local flying (SB and Ojai) appears good through the weekend. The trend is mostly following the models with minor adjustments. The airmass has warmed so today looks like the peak heat day in SB as well as other locations, however, the air aloft is also warmer than yesterday, so the lapse rate is similar or perhaps a tad better than yesterday. The wind is light today, then a bit more wind on Saturday

Today (Friday): Locally in SB there is some wind at ridgeline gusting into the low 20s from the NNW at dawn (not as much as yesterday). Much lighter flow below ridgeline in the mid to low single digits. The ridgeline wind backs off as the day warms and clocks around to pull in from the west at lower altitudes, then later in the day it continues to build from the west and swing back to come from the NNW late in the day. The increasing onshore flow is enough to quench the lower altitudes later in the day, so locally in SB it looks better late morning through mid-day. The SB lapse rate looks ok to good then fades late in the day.

In Ojai, the day starts our slow but gets better in the afternoon. The afternoon lapse rate looks robust. Ojai starts out colder on the surface but is better protected from the ocean influence and the wind due to taller mountains. This afternoon it is somewhat centered between the NE and NW flow.

There is east wind down the Santa Clara River, but it likely fades enough to reach Fillmore late in the day, but not much further. Today looks like the only day that Fillmore might be attainable due to more east wind through the weekend.

The challenge will be to claw along Castle Ridge to reach the higher terrain along Power Line Ridge and Casitas Pass. I suspect that if you can get to the Powerlines you can tag the Topa Bluffs, then plug to the bus stop in Fillmore or turn around at the Bluffs or Santa Paula Ridge and fly back toward Lake Casitas. Does not look like a good day for an out and return to SB due to the fading lapse rate down low along the coast and the increasing afternoon wind from the west in SB.

Tomorrow (Saturday) there is a little more wind early, from the NNE. The early lower lapse rate in SB looks weak to inverted but there is less wind down low. The lapse rate gets better as the day heats, but it looks better in Ojai so if you are up for a hike that might be a good option. If you do hike up in Ojai, recommend the Nuthouse or Nordhoff due to NE wind aloft

Sunday cools but at all altitudes so the lapse rate still looks ok and the wind seems to back off in SB so Sunday looks like a good flying day.

Monday starts out inverted in SB but then gets strong in the afternoon but there is also significant wind associated with the transition.
Thursday Morning Update

Don’t know if anyone flew yesterday, but it didn’t look very good in the mountains on paper. I suspect the day was ok for students at Elings?
Tuesday was a pleasant day in our local mountains with numerous pilots enjoying sweet flights in smooth air under thickening high clouds. Pilots were getting into the upper 3s. Chelsea was up for 2 hours and Nick flew to Ramero then out to the beach.

Looking forward: It appears flyable through the weekend with today and Friday likely offering more robust lapse rates. Saturday looks good in the afternoon then weaker conditions on Sunday.

High clouds don’t look like they will be a problem through the weekend with Thursday and Friday being clear and perhaps a few high clouds on Saturday.

Today (Thursday) starts out quite stiff with ridgeline wind gusting into the high 30s, but it should calm down as the day heats. Locally in SB it looks better in the afternoon and should work late in the day so you can start at Elings for a warmup and then get a good afternoon flight in the mountains from Western Skies or West La Cumbre. Expect some afternoon E/W convergence boost to good altitude over the high terrain in Santa Barbara later today.

The bigger potential today would be to launch from Ojai, fly to a turn point in SB and then back to Ojai. Recommend launching from the Nuthouse or Nordhoff. Would not recommend hiking up to Chiefs due to the NE aloft. The Nuthouse blocks a NE well, and you can launch into ENE flow from Nordhoff. If you do insist on hiking up the east route, we have a north launch at the Repeater, but the hike is longer, and it doesn’t work as good as Nordhoff or the Nuthouse. The Repeater north launch works better in a NW than a NE because the gap is to the west so it tends to cross from the east around the gap. The Repeater offers launch directions to the North, West and South.

Tomorrow (Friday) the day is launchable earlier than today. A little more west flow is forecasted to pull in from the west which could quench the lower SB altitudes later in the day. There is less local wind early Friday compared to today (Thursday) but more flow from the west late in the day. The course line is more open toward the east but still course limited somewhere around Fillmore. Recommend launching early from SB and getting over Casitas Pass for better afternoon air in Ojai which looks robust, central, and sheltered between between the East and West flow late in the day. Ojai is forecasted to be hotter on Friday compared to Thursday, but SB's temperature should peak this afternoon due to a little quenching flow later in the day tomorrow.

Saturday starts out a bit inverted with some NE wind at ridgeline but then backs down as the day heats yielding a nice local lapse rate mid-day through the afternoon. Ojai looks robust with a strong lapse rate in the afternoon but also more wind from the East. Likely not a good day to plug east past the Topa Bluffs toward Fillmore.

Sunday cools off a bit but still looks soarable in SB. The lapse rate is weaker but still positive and the wind is light from the west. Ojai is also looking weaker but still stronger than SB with light and variable wind so all the launches should work.
2nd January Work Week 2021
Tuesday Morning Perception

Today (Tuesday) looks better than tomorrow (Wednesday), then trending better on Thursday with Friday looking like the best day of the week.

Today (Tuesday) the wind is light, and the lapse rate is weak but positive. The big problem is the potential for significant high clouds which will be a wild card. Low anxiety day with the potential to offer some pleasant flights. If (a big if) you are able to claw your way along the low stretch of Castle Ridge to connect with the rising terrain to the east (Casitas Pass) Ojai should work good enough to reach Fillmore.

The afternoon flow today is forecasted to be from the West, so a reminder that West La Cumber is theoretically a better launch option than EJ when the wind is from the west (EJ works better when the flow is from the SE)

Tomorrow (Wednesday) the day looks flyable, but the upper atmosphere warms resulting in a weaker lapse rate and perhaps a bit more wind from the NE. Still some high clouds but not as thick as today.

Thursday, the lapse rate gets better as the high clouds are mostly or completely gone and the surface warms. There is a little north wind up at 6K, but down our soaring altitudes it is mostly light and variable with the typical East flow early then clocking around in the afternoon to come from the west.

Friday, the lapse rate looks good. Not sure why, but one of the primary rules is the lift is where you find it. Expect a hot high-pressure day. The local wind on Friday also looks light. I’ll likely try to fly on Friday but it’s still a ways out so I’ll take a closer look later in the week.
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Re: 3rd January Weekend 2021

Postby LNW » Sat Jan 16, 2021 5:58 am

Did a quick look at wx for Saturday, and at 5:30 sat morning I am seeing even more north wind than when I originally wrote this. Nut house should still work but I would personally abandon ridge height launches all together. Who knows though as the forecast is just a forecast.

There is low confidence in all the models. (Meaning they disagree on multiple aspects of the day)

4+ temp spread in Ojai. Depending on the model 5k to 7.5k ft possible top of lift? Probably launch lower than ridge height in case the north doesn't block completely or you want to get off earlier (likely a very small window on the ridge at Nordoff peak). If going to the top of the ridge, Howard's Creek trail is the fastest to Nordhoff launch. I'll probably do nut house or try and find something off of the pratt trail.

I expect to spend most of my time on the front points in Ojai and drifting into the valley. Though this time of year with low sun angle I'm not expecting much out of the flats early or late.

3ish spread in sb between 2k and 3200. Still no strong capping inversion to prevent north. Surface inversion strong to 1200. Likely launching north side but I'm always a bit surprised by skyport. Bypass or parkers should work for a short window?
But please note I'm always optimistic with my forecasting.

Thanks for sharing your report yesterday Tom, it's always helpful.
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